The following are quotes from Utah State men's basketball coach Stew Morrill prior to its home game against Idaho Friday night.
Feb. 23, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
"I don't know where to start really other than it's our last home game, it's senior night and hopefully we can come out and play with some energy and enthusiasm and try to play good basketball. That's what it is going to take. Idaho has a nice team and they've found a way to win some close games that has got to them to 7-4 in league. As I was telling our team yesterday, as close as the game was up there, had we found a way to win that one and we certainly could have, both teams would be sitting at 6-5. It's sometimes a small difference between a 7-4 and a 5-6. We would like to try and get back to .500 in league and try and see if we can have a winning season going down the stretch."
Is It Getting Easier Playing Against A Don Verlin Coached Idaho Team:
"It's not about that. I definitely think that it's about the players and it's always about the players and how they preform. I agree with you, I don't think that has much to do with this. Other than familiarity, we are familiar with the systems obviously. It's the system he took up there after basically all the years here and he's done like Randy Rahe, he's added to it and changed things. It's his fourth year and there are a lot of things that are similar but a lot of things that are different as well. There is some familiarity but certainly things that aren't familiar as you prepare for each other. A lot of plays we use to run, they run and we don't run anymore so most of our guys don't know them, sometimes you assume they do and they don't as you start preparing."
On Utah State's Senior Class:
"I am always very appreciative of our senior class, the go out everyday and try to give you what they've got. Obviously it was a blow when we lost Brady (Jardine) and that certainly affected our team. Injuries shouldn't be excuses but they are facts, that's the way I have always looked at it, and that is a fact that we lost him and it was certainly tough for our team. Morgan Grim has played with a softball-sized ankle a lot this year and people don't realize that. He has been tough along those lines, it's been frustrating for him, it's been frustrating for coaches, all our team, but he has shown a lot of toughness playing with an ankle that would have sat most guys down. So, we are very appreciative of Morgan along those lines. Brockeith (Pane) is obviously one of the premiere point guards in the league, I mean he does a lot of things out there. Sometimes he has gotten over looked because we have struggled a little bit and he really shouldn't have. He was a big part of a championship team, we don't have the weapons that we had last year but he is still a very good player. I am very appreciative of what the seniors have done and I think that far to often seniors are judged by what kind of season you are having and they should really be judged for the things that I mentioned, for their effort and trying to do everything they can day in and day out."
On What It Will Mean To Honor Brady Jardine:
"Just a reminder of how nice it would have been to have him, is what I think it will mean to me. Also everything he accomplished in his career here and how sad it is that he won't get to have a senior season. Those are the things that I'm sure will hit him and all of us. Quality, great young man with a bright future in life, kind of what college basketball should be all about, great student, very mature. His education is going to lead him down an awfully good path. So obviously it will be nice to have him honored and it will be nice to have them all honored."
On Idaho's Kyle Barone:
"He's playing really well, they have thrown him the ball a lot and I have always thought Kyle Barone was a really good player. He just gets better with experience like a lot of guys do. He can shoot it, he can pass it, he's long and he can hurt you in the block, he can face up and hurt you, he can drive by you, he's an awfully good rebounder averaging eight a game. He gives them a presence inside offensively and defensively. They're definitely going to him a lot and they should be."
On Idaho's Landon Tatum:
"He's the glue for their team, he does everything you want him to do. He doesn't take too many shots, but when he does take a shot he makes it a lot of times. He is shooting 42 percent from three on not very many attempts. He runs their team and plays really hard and seems to be a high character guy, I like what I see in him and I always have."
On Idaho's Stephen Madison:
"He is averaging four and a half rebounds a game and he plays the three and the four. He's a versatile guy, he can shoot it from three, he can go inside and gives them a different look when they go small and play him at the four. I think he is another guy that has gotten a lot better as he gets experience, he is a quality player for them."
On Idaho's Djim Bandoumel:
"He just gives them a real athletic presence. He's very long, they lob to him, he gets some dunks, he has gotten better with his post moves around the basket. I think they didn't really know what to expect out of him and he has been kind of a surprise and has done a good job for them."
On These Last Two Weeks Heading Into The WAC Tournament:
"Right now I look at it as trying to have a winning season, I hope our guys look at it that way. Trying to keep competing and not get so discouraged that you cannot compete. It's tough when you lose, there's not anybody that has ever lost games that won't tell you that. You have to battle that, you can't give in, never give up, never give up. If we happen to do some good in the next three games then it might give us some momentum going into the tournament. As I have said forever about tournaments, it's not who played bad, it's not who played good right before the tournament, it's who played good during the tournament, and I believe that firmly. That week is a whole different thing to me, we are just trying to get back to winning a game."